Kiwi journalist Dan Wootton claims British TV execs under pressure from palace staff
New Zealand journalist Dan Wootton says there has been a shift in how the media covers Meghan Markle since the bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The former executive editor of The Sun broke the story announcing that Prince Harry and Meghan were moving out of the UK and relinquishing their HRH titles in 2020 – and has strong opinions about the fallout from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s interview with Oprah.
Speaking to Newstalk ZB host Kate Hawkesby, Wootton also commented on Sharon Osbourne and Piers Morgan’s dramatic exits from their hosting roles.
He said he was shocked at how the networks had handled both Morgan’s and Osbourne’s outburst and claimed it implied TV hosts weren’t allowed to.
Morgan resigned from his role at ITV’s Good Morning Britain after thousands of complaints, including from Meghan herself, whereas CBS announced Osbourne would not return to her hosting role on The Talk.
“Most television personalities are worried about keeping their job than anything else,” he claimed.
“And so if all of a sudden, if questioning validity of claims by Meghan Markle, for example, makes you racist, then people aren’t going to question the claims of Meghan Markle, even if they are point blank lies.
When asked if he had ever felt “gagged” during his career of royal reporting Wootton alleged during his time at ITV between 2011 and 2019 that executives were “under lots of pressure” from palace staff to treat Prince Harry and Meghan well.
“I actually left ITV before Piers Morgan did, and one of the reasons was because I was increasingly told before I went on air in the morning ‘Dan can you be glowing about Meghan and Harry today, we’re under lots of pressure’,” he explained.
“And so that meant the executives [were] under significant pressure from the palace at the time.”
He’s adamant any opinions he shared of Meghan Markle were “anchored in reporting”, citing his stories on Kate Middleton and Meghan’s “fall-out”.
“When I was covering the wedding for ITV I couldn’t be more excited just like everyone in the British media,” he said, disagreeing with the royal couple’s feelings Meghan faced a hostile environment when she joined the royal family.
Wootton announced in January he was leaving his position as executive editor of The Sun.
“After seven life-changing years at The Sun and, more recently, talkRADIO, I have made the very tough decision to leave News UK,” he announced at the time.
The Wellington-born presenter now works for GB News and is a columnist for Mail Online.
Wootton was at the centre of Hollywood star Johnny Depp’s defamation case last year, winning the case brought against the Sun for his story labelling Depp a “wife-beater” in the headline. A British judge ruled Depp had abused his ex-wife Amber Heard after the explosive case.
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